EdPosts
By Edward Grinnan

Forgiving the Unforgivable

I picked up the phone on my desk after checking the caller I.D.

“Hey, Jules,” I said to my wife.
“Edward, I don’t want you to be upset. Everything’s OK...”
“What’s OK? What’s wrong?”
“Really, she’s all right.”
“Who’s all right? You’re upsetting me.”
“Don’t get upset...”
“But you’re upsetting me! What happened?”
Pause. Breathing. Sigh.
“Millie got bit.”
What?!”
“Just a nip. On the nose. By a Pekinese. At the pet store.”
“A Pekinese? One of those little rat dogs? Really?”
“I took her right to the vet. She’s going to be fine.”
“The vet? She had to go to the vet?”
“I didn’t want the bite to get infected. They gave her a shot and some antibiotic cream. She was very brave. Hardly even cried.”
“She cried? Millie cried?!”
“Just a little. She’s fine now.”
“What’s that dog’s owner’s number? I want to have a word or two with her.”
“I didn’t get her number. She left. I’m not even sure she realized what happened.”
“Oh, she knew all right. They always do. They’re sneaky. That’s why they have little dogs.”

I hung up. You know that expression, “My blood boiled”? I never took it literally until now. My blood was roiling. I thought the back of my neck was going to burst into flames. How dare that owner! How dare that dog! Millie is the sweetest, kindest creature in the world. In her nearly seven years on this earth (her birthday is April 1) she has never been in a fight and she would never, ever fight back against a nasty little canine pipsqueak like a Pekinese.

The weekend was here and I knew what I was going to be doing. I was going to hang out at the pet food store on 23rd Street until I saw that owner and her vicious dog. Confront them. Give the owner a piece of my mind and then some. I had a vision of a Pekinese pancake if he gave me any of his guff. I would avenge this despicable outrage done to my poor, sweet, beautiful dog. This injustice would not stand.

Justice. Was that what I wanted? When I got home Millie greeted me with her usual good cheer, bloody snout and all. She presented me with her favorite toy. She was wagging and smiling, exuberant as only a Golden can be. So happy, happy in the most pure and basic way. Whatever unpleasantness her day had held, she’d moved far past it. She lived in the moment and the moment was good, especially when I gave her extra treats for her terrible ordeal.

Justice. No, that’s not what I wanted. I wanted revenge. I wanted an outlet for my seething anger. I didn’t know if I would even be able to sleep that night.

Later, as I applied the salve to Millie’s nose, I took a closer look at my feelings... and at my dog. Millie was fine. She was at peace. Was I? I don’t know if Millie had forgiven that Pekinese. I don’t know if dogs operate that way. But she certainly wasn’t brooding or holding a grudge. Could I say the same?

I wasn’t really going to stalk the Pekinese at the pet store all weekend. I wasn’t going to turn it into a Pekinese pancake and dress down the apparently clueless owner. What I was going to do was take a deep breath, close my eyes, say a prayer and ask a Power greater than myself and my anger to help me forgive. I’d never prayed for such a thing, to forgive a Pekinese. This was a first.

But it worked. Millie curled up beside me as if to say, It’s all right, that little dog was just scared, don’t be so mad, I’m OK. I needed to let it go and I did, though it took a couple more prayers and a pint of SoCo ginger ice cream, a little of which I shared with my maimed Golden girl. She was quite content. And it occurred to me that in so many ways my dog is a better person than I am.

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. Edward lives in New York City with two blondes—his wife, Julee, and Golden Retriever, Millie, who has been featured in his blog and popular videos. Edward loves cycling, hiking with Millie at his house in the Berkshire Hills and Wolverines that hail from Michigan.

If you need a little boost of inspiration, pick up a copy of Edward's book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.

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I, too, read your note in a recent issue of Guideposts and wanted to see what was written in the blog. I am not an owner of a wonderful golden retriever. I am one of those "sneaky" owners of "a nasty, vicious little rat dog." Actually, a own a few happy, outgoing and friendly 7 lb. toy fox terriers. After reading both of your accounts as to what happened, I have some questions as to what really transpired. According to this story, Millie was attacked by a 7 lb. Pekingese. An adult Peke weighs a good bit more than 7 lbs., which means it was probably a puppy or perhaps a mixed-breed more commonly known these days as a "designer dog". Looking at the photo, it looks to me that the bite marks are closer to the top of Millie's muzzle. Could this have happened because an easy-going retriever trotted over for a friendly sniff? My dogs are not used to large dogs coming over to them and lowering their big heads above them. I can't begin to count how many times I have had to pick my dogs up because of a clueless owner letting their big breed dog come say hello. They may be friendly, but the size alone can scare a little dog. My small terriers have never bitten another dog due to the fact that I do pay attention---if they were scared enough, I'm not sure what could happen. The moral of your stories is basically to forgive and forget like our wonderful dogs. I might add to that to always try to see a situation from both sides--it isn't always how it appears at first.

I, too, read your note in a recent issue of Guideposts and wanted to see what was written in the blog. I am not an owner of a wonderful golden retriever. I am one of those "sneaky" owners of "a nasty, vicious little rat dog." Actually, a own a few happy, outgoing and friendly 7 lb. toy fox terriers. After reading both of your accounts as to what happened, I have some questions as to what really transpired. According to this story, Millie was attacked by a 7 lb. Pekingese. An adult Peke weighs a good bit more than 7 lbs., which means it was probably a puppy or perhaps a mixed-breed more commonly known these days as a "designer dog". Looking at the photo, it looks to me that the bite marks are closer to the top of Millie's muzzle. Could this have happened because an easy-going retriever trotted over for a friendly sniff? My dogs are not used to large dogs coming over to them and lowering their big heads above them. I can't begin to count how many times I have had to pick my dogs up because of a clueless owner letting their big breed dog come say hello. They may be friendly, but the size alone can scare a little dog. My small terriers have never bitten another dog due to the fact that I do pay attention---if they were scared enough, I'm not sure what could happen. The moral of your stories is basically to forgive and forget like our wonderful dogs. I might add to that to always try to see a situation from both sides--it isn't always how it appears at first.

Poor Millie - I read your column in the recent Guideposts and had to read the blog story. Golden Retrievers are GR-eat dogs! Hope she is all healed up. My golden will be 14 next month. Every day is a blessing. I would have felt the same way as you if my baby was attacked by another dog. In fact - I've put myself (not advised) between her and another dog that was chasing her (she was frightened - I received the hyper-extended knee cap when she tried to run "thru" me - ha).

14! You must take great loving care of her!

Wow, how upsetting! Poor sweet Goldens are always so friendly! Our Rocco, is 7 also, and we don't take him to the pet store anymore. And this is another reason not to. Hope Millie is healed by now.

Millie is fine. Love to Rocco!

:) be thankful you have a Golden Retriever as they are true family dogs. :)